Fourth Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting
July 26, 2011
The Fourth Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting was held in Bali, Indonesia, on July 21. The following is an overview of the Meeting. (Japan was represented by Mr. Takeaki Matsumoto, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Other participants were Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Dr. Thongloun Sisoulith, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mr. Wunna Maung Lwin, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Mrs. Chitriya Pinthong, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, and Mr. Pham Gia Khiem, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.) After the Meeting, the Chairman's Statement was issued (see http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/mekong/fm1107/statement.html).
1. Progress and Future Course of Mekong-Japan Cooperation
(1) Minister Matsumoto briefed the Meeting on progress in cooperation between the Mekong region countries and Japan, and explained efforts Japan has made on the basis of the "Action Plan 63" adopted at the First Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting. As important challenges in future bilateral cooperation, he singled out, among other things, environmental issues and climate change, promotion of investment through collaboration between the public and private sectors, and cooperation to overcome vulnerability.
(2) The following are main points of remarks made by the participants.
- (a) Gratitude was expressed for the initiative taken so far by Japan in Mekong-Japan cooperation and for assistance extended by Japan to the Mekong region.
- (b) The importance of efforts to improve ASEAN connectivity toward the establishment of an ASEAN Community in 2015 was reaffirmed and strong expectations for Japanese cooperation were expressed for further improvement in regional infrastructure, including response to the so-called missing links in infrastructure networks.
- (c) In the area of environment and climate change, high marks were given to the Green Mekong Forum held in June under the joint auspices of Japan and Thailand. The importance of economic development compatible with efforts to address environmental issues and climate change was recognized and the need for closer cooperation was confirmed.
- (d) In the area of investment promotion through public-private cooperation, the results of a Mekong-Japan plenary meeting of the Forum for the Promotion of Public-Private Cooperation in the Mekong Region, hosted by Japan in December 2010, were highly evaluated. Expectations were expressed for the holding of a second plenary session of the Forum ahead of this year's Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting.
- (e) Regarding assistance to overcome vulnerability, expectations were expressed for Japanese efforts particularly in the areas of maternal and child health and response to infectious diseases, and food security and safety.
- (f) Myanmar's efforts on the political front were given high ratings as a step forward toward democratization and national reconciliation. Expectations were voiced for acceleration of democratization and national reconciliation, and the idea of supporting efforts by the Government of Myanmar was shared.
2. Regional and International Situations
Discussions were conducted on efforts to address such issues as the Korean Peninsula situation, nonproliferation and maritime security.
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